By Claire West

“A World Cup in England in 2018 would not just be great for the football fans, it would provide a huge boost to small business and spark an entrepreneurial spirit across the country. It’s not too late to show your support.”

That is the message from 2018 Bid advisory board member, West Ham vice-chairman and star of The Apprentice, Karren Brady. Karren is launching new research from official England 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Bid supporter npower, which shows that 73% of small businesses in the ‘football front line’ — the chippies, bars, hotels and pubs in the hospitality trade — believe the tournament would result in a significant increase in sales.

With two weeks to go until FIFA makes its decision on who will host the 2018 World Cup, the research of 1000 businesses by npower also showed that many are already thinking ahead to 2018 — across all sectors, one in 25 predict they would have to take on additional staff to cope with demand, and on average, they would expect to see a 17% increase in trade or sales.

In fact one in 12 businesses in the hospitality sector, and one in 14 in the travel, tourism and leisure sectors would start to plan for how they could take advantage of the World Cup on home soil straight away after FIFA makes its decision on 2 December. One in six businesses in the hospitality sector would start their planning in 2013 - five years before the tournament starts.

One in 10 businesses also said they would introduce new products or services or would consider expanding their business to capitalise on the tournament being on home soil. This rises to a significant one in three in the hospitality sector and one in five in the travel, tourism and leisure sectors.

As a result of these findings, Karren Brady is urging people to keep backing the England 2018 Bid and show their support for the entrepreneurs and small business owners that would benefit from the predicted £3bn boost to the economy the World Cup would bring.

She comments:
“Having worked in football for many years, I am aware of how much it would mean to the public to host a World Cup in England. The UK economy would also prosper, particularly the small businesses that would get a huge and welcome boost if thousands of travelling football fans were coming through their doors. In fact, this research from npower revealed that a third of businesses (29%) believed it would be the smaller companies that would see the biggest benefit.

“While it is difficult to predict how the economy will be faring in eight years' time, what is really encouraging about this research is it shows how forward-thinking and entrepreneurial our small businesses are.

“Against the current backdrop of spending cuts, the positive attitude demonstrated by the small business community is one that should be applauded and encouraged. It’s not too late to get behind the England 2018 Bid — we still have time to show FIFA that England would be a brilliant host of the World Cup.”

The research showed that overall, one in six small businesses believe a World Cup in England in 2018 would have a positive impact on their company. Of these, over half (54%) believe that hosting the World Cup would increase trade and 55% believe it would provide a welcome boost to employee morale.

Kevin Peake, marketing director at npower, added:
“npower is a proud supporter of the England 2018 Bid, and as we enter the final crucial two weeks before decision day, it is clear that there is a huge amount of support from small businesses. We have already been helping some of the these businesses in the host cities get in shape for the tournament by providing them energy efficiency audits and advice, and it’s clear to see that many would take advantage of the opportunities a World Cup in England would bring.”

Businesses can visit to pledge your support for England 2018.